Sunday, February 3, 2013

how am i doing (key word here)?

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Because it is essentially a being/helping verb, when we attempt to use this translation of the name of God as we would normally use one's name in a sentence it's not grammatically correct insofar as our way of thinking is concerned. Yet this name God ascribes to Himself seems so fitting given what we know about about Him from this verse:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.


"Verbs are what make the universe alive."
-The Shack - 



any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicatesthat typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect,voice, mood, and to show agreement with their subject or object.


A few months ago

 I watched this short thought provoking video/song for the first time.

 "The Name of God 
is the sound of our breathing."


several days ago

I read this:

And our every breath is a murmuring of His name, YHWH

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….
This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

excerpt via 



just the other day 

as I was contemplating all of this

I stumbled on a friend's fb status along the same line:

This song [Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God] begins to play on the van's stereo. 

A few moments into it, Aron asks from his seat behind Karen and me, "What's the Holy Spirit?"

Yeah, yeah, I know I probably could have corrected the query to pose Aron's question more accurately, "Who is the Holy Spirit?" but I didn't think of that then, and now I'm glad I didn't, because it was an honest question that needed no correction, just a grandfather's answer, and so I thought for a split second, "Oh, Lord, help!" And who can explain the Trinity anyway?

"The Holy Spirit is like the Breath of God . . . the most deep part of Himself. Breath is what brings life to all things . . . even makes them in the first place. The Holy Spirit is God . . . and God is Love . . . and only Love can give Life."

Aron said, "Oooooh. OK."

God I hope that's right . . . or at least good enough! -mh

My note:  Based on little Aron's response, it seems some things are so simple that only a child can really understand them. 


21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me,  I am sending you.”  22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. ..."


I must admit it's  

only recently 

that I've heard this "teaching", for lack of a better word, that the name of God is the sound of our breathing - but I've been pondering it ever since.

Though I'm no biblical scholar or theologian, I can't help but wonder if there is some truth in the understanding that the most accurate "pronunciation" of the name God ascribes to Himself in Exodus 3:14 is one that we're not even capable of speaking, or spelling for that matter, but rather is one that is most accurately "pronounced" or "rendered" in the sound of our breathing - and that being the very essence of life.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

If so, might that mean that at any given moment and for as long as we are given breath, essentially we are speaking - breathing - living the name of God with the honor and reverence due His holy name - or not?  

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.


And for those of us who have grown up with the understanding that the following commandment basically means we are not to profane the the name of God by using it as a disrespectful expletive in a sentence 

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, 
for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.


The NAS translation of it reads:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,
 for the Lord will not leave him unpunished
 who takes His name in vain.


might the understanding that the name of God is the sound our breathing give more depth to its meaning and impact how we attempt to obey (live) it, especially in light of what Jesus revealed in the New Testament to be the greatest commandment from which all the Law and the Prophets hang on:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.


And if there is even some truth in the understanding that YHWH is best translated for us, with our limited ability to understand, as:

a.) a being/helping verb  
b.) the sound of our breathing
c.) the very essence of life, and is

not to be misused &/or taken in vain, then 

might the underlying implication be that

action(s) speak louder than words.

And perhaps then inherent in how we choose to respond in word and/or deed to the events and circumstances around us (that being the only aspect of our personal lives that we seem to have any measure of control over)is where the determination lies as to how appropriately, accurately and effectively we are speaking the LORD'S name in any given breath at any given moment and on a regular basis.

Perhaps it's what we do - and the why behind what we do (or don't do for that matter) - that determines whether or not we are speaking/(mis)using/taking the LORD's name in vain and that most accurately defines just exactly what YHWH means to us personally.


10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


I'm not defending or debating the veracity of the claim that the name of God is the sound of our breathing. And if there is some truth in it then I see it being misused, misapplied and profaned in the new age movement and the like. I'm just sharing my own personal thoughts here as I ponder the possibility that perhaps there is some truth in it. But whether or not there actually is truth in the understanding that the name of God is the sound of our breathing, this closing line of the first song above

"Doubters and deceivers, skeptics and believers, we speak it just the same. 
From birth to death with every single breath, we're whispering Your [His] name."

begs the question 

How am i doing (key word here) at faithfully conveying I AM in the way YHWH intends from one moment/breath to the next in the course of an hour - a day - a month - a year - a decade, etc? 

And, more importantly 

Who, what and how much is being lost in translation?

11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
                      which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

1 comment:

paulak said...

Oh Joyce! Your words were exactly what YHWH intended for me to ingest this morning. Thank you for chewing on this and for sharing your thoughts!

...Abba has been calling me to "be still" before Him... and it's been in those quiet times, ...that I am aware of the sound of my own breathing... Your words will bring a sweetness to the moments right after I ask Him to still my mind and heart... at exactly that point... my own inhaling and exhaling will switch from automatic... to something more conscientious... to breath His name! And we join in all of creation's proclamation of Him... with every breath!